2016 proved to be a very interesting year for Apple. We got the iPad Pro 9.7”, the smaller of the “Pro” sized iPad’s on the market. Apple unveiled and released the iPhone 7/7 Plus which introduced water resistance in the iPhone 7 models, and a return to the 4” screen with the iPhone SE. The release of the iPhone 7 coincided with the fantastic iOS 10 release.
We also got a successor to the Apple Watch, albeit a minor upgrade by adding a much-needed dual core processor along with GPS, bumping it to Series 2. Back on the iPhone, it is in its 9th year on the market and Apple announced it has sold its 1 billionth (1,000,000,000) iPhone in 2016. An absolute massive number; and something no one would’ve believed 9 years ago.
So, with all these great products released, what could Apple have in store for us in 2017? Will we just have minor/major upgrades to already released products? Will we have a totally new product set? Either way, let’s speculate…
Let’s start with the Apple Watch. First and foremost, we in the office (and professionals online) believe that the bands itself will be compatible with all future models whereas the watch itself will change every 12-18 months.
We expect Apple to announce the third iteration of the watch around September 2017 although we may even get an “S” release in March with more on-board memory and very minor upgrades.
The model itself will most likely look like the current model (which isn’t a bad thing) but may improve the screen technology or even introduce a front facing camera. Apple do hold a patent for the front facing camera on a watch, so seeing one wouldn’t be too surprising.
A lot of people continually ask if we’ll ever get 4G compatibility in the watches; the short answer is not right now. The added antenna will add a fair amount of additional stress to the battery. We do see it happening in the future, but not this year.
With the Apple Watch being very young in its lifecycle we completely expect a quiet evolution rather than an entire revolution. We’re fine with minor revisions in this space.
In 2015 and 2016 there were no new iPad Air models (The iPad Air 2 was released in 2014). In fact, the only iPad we received in 2016 was the iPad Pro 9.7”, with its bigger brother the 12.9” being released in 2015. So what are Apple doing with the iPad?
We strongly believe that the current 9.7” iPads titled “Air” are going to be replaced with the Pro line-up and another 9.7” iPad will be released just called the “iPad” with the Pro being reserved for the high spec internals on the 9.7” & 12.9” variants. So ultimately we believe 2017 will be a big year for the iPad family with the following possible releases:
> iPad Pro 2 – 9.7”/12.9”
A natural successor to the current “Pro” line-up adding internal updates but also a 3D Touch screen bringing it in line with the iPhone and Apple Watch displays.
> iPad 9.7”/iPad Mini 5
A spiritual successor to the 9.7” iPad Air and the successor to the iPad Mini 4 respectively with updated internals and no 3D Touch.
The device we all absolutely adore and are at a loss when we’re not with it, the iPhone.
2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of the Apple iPhone so expectations are massive – but what can Apple do to such a refined device?
Before we get in to the iPhone 10th anniversary device, let’s discuss what else is on the agenda for iPhone in 2017.
2016 introduced the iPhone SE. A very popular device we found at Star21, so much so that a few members of the team opted for the SE model rather than the iPhone 7. We expect a new model to be released this year and around the same time (Q4 of 16/17). It’ll most likely have the internals of the iPhone 7 along with its beautiful camera but we’re not sure about 3D Touch making its way to the SE successor. We certainly hope so!
iPhone 7S or iPhone 8 or iPhone X… We don’t know much about the 2017 edition of the iPhone and certainly no idea on what the title of it will be. Generally, we get a new model (such as the iPhone 5) then get an S variant (iPhone 5S) which brings faster internals, a better camera and more durable components, until the year after (iPhone 6) and we get a whole new design. The iPhone 7 didn’t follow this variant at all, making the iPhone 7 more like an iPhone 6S-S. Therefore, so many in the business are almost certain the next iPhone is going to be a clean slate with an awesome new design.
Speculation online has led people to believe that the Home button will be removed entirely making an edge to edge display with the capability of having an entire screen capable of picking up your fingerprint. A well known Apple rumours site says that the next iPhone will have a flexible OLED display instead of LCD panels which have appeared since the inception of the device. This will make the device lighter, the display a lot brighter, crisper and introducing very vivid colours.
Another thing which most likely be added to the next iPhone will be wireless charging. Apple recently released the AirPods introducing wireless Apple headphones and during the speech they kept going on about wireless everything, so have wireless charging on an iPhone will bring it on par to the Android devices which sport this feature – but of course Apple will add their special twist on it.
So, with a new display, an “anywhere” fingerprint reader, wireless charging along with the internal upgrades the iPhone 7S/8/X will be an awesome successor to the current line-up of iPhones and an achievement for a device only 10 years old!
That’s it for now, we’ll report back to see how we went with any of these predictions and tell us online what you think!